Instructors and Learners’ Attitudes about English for Science and Technology: Learning and Target Needs of Mechanical Engineering Students

Document Type: Original Article

Authors

1 Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics, Department of English Language, Imam Khomeini International University, Qazvin, Iran

2 MA Student of Applied Linguistics, Department of English Language, Imam Khomeini International University, Qazvin, Iran

Abstract

The current investigation sought to examine the learning and target needs of mechanical engineering (ME) students based on the learners and instructors’ attitudes though an explanatory mixed-method design. To elicit learners’ perceptions of English for Science and Technology (EST), 114 ME undergraduate students and 13 EST instructors from four Iranian state universities took part in a large quantitative phase followed by a smaller qualitative enquiry. The data were gathered from two sets of questionnaires, semi-structured oral interviews, and focus group discussions. Descriptive statistics including mean and standard deviation as well as qualitative interpretations were employed for data analysis. Quantitative and qualitative results revealed that ME learners and instructors had comparatively diverse opinions about leaning and target needs of EST students. They agreed that reading skills were the most essential EST learning and target needs. Learners supported the essentialness and prominence order of speaking, listening, and writing skills; while instructors stated that writing, listening and speaking were the most significant language skills after reading. Such an inconsistency was also witnessed for the inevitability and importance of the target needs of mechanical engineering students among the learners’ and instructors’ perceptions. The findings of this study can aid EST learners, instructors, and curriculum developers to better cope with teaching and learning concerns in EST courses.

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